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West Fargo's Schiller keeps on wrestling and winning

West Fargo's Reed Olson, top, takes down Fargo South's Ben Burke in the 160 lb. category last Friday at Fargo South high school gymnasium. Olson pinned Burke. Jay Pickthorn1 / 2
West Fargo's Jordan Johnston takes down Fargo South's Darrek Crissler in the 125 lb. category. Johnston pinned Crissler. Jay Pickthorn/The Forum2 / 2

There's not a whole lot of buzz surrounding the Packer wrestling team this winter. The graduation of several top wrestlers from last season's successful team was just too much to take.

West Fargo is currently in sixth place in the EDC with a 1-3 dual record. Last year the Packers took second at the state tournament after winning it all the year prior. Grappling fans are seeing more than just a rebuilding year though. They're seeing the continued domination of arguably the best wrestler in the state.

Junior 189-pounder Scott Schiller is a man on a mission, and there's little doubt he'll accomplish it. He suffered a pair of losses at the Rumble on the Red Tournament to elite out-of-state wrestlers. Other than that, his record is perfect in his quest to become a two-time state champion. Schiller's record of 27-2 is on par with last year's 43-3 mark, which broke the school record for wins in a season.

Schiller won a Bismarck Rotary title earlier this month and pinned his Fargo South opponent last week in just over two minutes in EDC dual action. For his part, Schiller said he's starting to feel like things are coming together for him this year.

"I just have to keep working and keep improving for state," he said. "I feel like I'm kind of starting to peak now. Making my workouts shorter, but a lot more intense, kind of helps me."

Other Packers are also looking solid this year, including senior Austin Cassezza (135) and freshman Jordan Johnston (125). The two were the only Packers to win versus the No. 2-Bruins last week, along with Schiller and sophomore Reed Olson (160). West Fargo lost 53-21.

Skaters lose third

Packer coach Pat Johnson feels it's a lack of effort and intensity on the road versus Bismarck that led to the third loss of the season for his girls hockey team.

All three defeats have come against different opponents, and the latest one, versus Bismarck, broke the team's eight-game winning streak that began after the Packers opened the year 0-2.

"Everybody has a job to do, and we just have to make sure we start doing that," said Johnson. "You have to give a complete effort. We just have to stress that you have to start doing the things that we worked on."

It certainly doesn't help that West Fargo hasn't had a home game in more than five weeks. The Packers haven't even played a game since Dec. 12 that has been within a two-hour drive of West Fargo.

"It's pretty hard to stay on the road that long and not play some games in town. It's been hard on them," said Johnson. The Packers lost 2-1 in Bismarck last Saturday and embark on the longest journey of the season later this week for games at Minot and Williston.

The coach hopes his players will right the ship in time for the final stretch of the regular season when the Packers will play six of their last seven games at home.

"Right now the bounces aren't going our way, and I think that's due to us not coming out hard every period and every shift, but hopefully we're getting there," said Johnson, who coached the Packers to a second-place finish at last year's state tournament.

West Fargo was 8-3 and in fifth place in the 12-team state standings at press time.

Boys in 8th place

The Packer boys hockey team lost 6-2 on the road to defending state champion Grafton-Park River on Saturday. The Packers were in eighth place at 1-5 in the EDC at press time, ahead of winless Wahpeton.

Next week's issue will feature full boys hockey coverage.

Boys basketball still in 1st

After allowing Moorhead to a come-from-behind win last week, the Packer boys basketball team rebounded with a 62-47 win at Valley City last Friday worth two-points in the EDC standings. West Fargo, 6-3 overall, is 6-0 and in first place in the conference points standings and one-half game ahead of Fargo North.

Results from the Packers' game against the Spartans on Tuesday were not available before press time.

Girls basketball in 3rd The Packer girls basketball team also won its two-point conference game over Valley City, 69-38. Sophomore Katelyn Holland had a career-high 23 points for the Packers who are tied for third place in the EDC with a 4-2 conference record.

Holland is leading the EDC in points-per-game at 17.2 and in free throw percentage at 92 percent.